HOW TO GROW A LOTUS BLOSSOM: Reflections in a Disciple's Life

by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Section X
Rules of the Game

A pacified heart and a truthful body lead to the Real, the Still, the Unborn.



With the spiritual surrender that I have described in Section IX of these "Reflections in a Disciple's Life" I entered a retreat of indescribable intensity.

From the moment of that surrender my brain turned off, and it did not turn back on for several months. This is not to say that I did not have thoughts. Nonetheless, my brain would only function in certain ways and for certain purposes.

During this retreat my brain would work for receiving teaching. It would work for contemplating--not analyzing--the teaching given. It would work for reviewing and contemplating--not analyzing--the karmic history that unfolded before me.

My brain continued to function normally in some daily activities, but not in others. Anything requiring analysis or the simplest mechanical skill--areas in which I am reasonably competent--became extremely difficult and acutely distressing. Normal daily activities that did not involve figuring anything out were no problem--as long as they were done when it was good to do them. Most of the night and much of the day was occupied with deep meditation.

Rev. Master said that this "shutting off" happened to her brain in 1976. She also said that when her brain turned back on several months after she first went into retreat, it picked up exactly where it had left off.

The purpose of this shutting off of the brain is not hard to see. The surrender that I have described turns the controls of body and mind fully over to the Eternal so that a spiritual "100,000 mile rebuild" can take place. The brain is like the computer of the vehicle that is being rebuilt. The brain needs to be re-programmed. And the effort and energy that might normally be divided among many jobs and a number of interests has to be concentrated in meditation and then used, when it is good, for contemplation of teaching given by the Eternal.

The Line-Up

Imagine a mechanical pinball machine. Down at the player's end of the machine is a channel or tube containing a number of little balls in a line. One ball at a time comes into alignment with a spring loaded rod (the plunger). The player pulls the plunger back, compressing the spring, and then lets go. The plunger drives the ball up near the top of the playfield, and it then bounces around as the player tries to guide it by means of flippers to where it will make lots of points. When one ball has disappeared down a hole or otherwise gone out of play, the next one in line feeds into position so that it can go on a similar adventure.

The retreat that I began on May 23, 1998 can be thought of as "spiritual pinballs." Each ball is a lump of spiritual need. The "player" pulling the plunger and controlling the ball as it comes home to the Eternal is the Eternal.--The Eternal is the One in charge of the process. The playfield in which each ball of spiritual need bumps, shoots, and bangs around is the body and mind of the trainee. The purpose of the ball being fired up the playfield, and then all the bumping around as it works its way down the playfield, is the cleansing and conversion of karma. The name of the Game is "Cosmic Compassion."

The evening of May 23, the day of surrender, I was made aware of the line-up of spiritual need. I wrote in my diary, "It seems that being reclaimed by the Eternal [in surrender] has beckoned all my karma and it is lining up for help." This is the same process that we see in the first half of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom.

The spiritual darkness that is experienced in this process is very intense, as is very evident in How to Grow a Lotus Blossom.-- Why is this so?--Because the spiritual need is so full of despair--despairing fear, desperate longing, and, above all, desperate grief. Each time a "ball" of need gets shot up the "playfield" of body and mind, a flood of pure feeling is released into consciousness. Feeling is the reaper of karma. And feeling is the ultimate messenger that delivers the teaching about the causes of suffering. This is where one learns in detail that the law of karma is inexorable.

The spiritual light that is experienced in this process is also very intense. When deep spiritual need finds its way to the Help of the Eternal, there is great joy and gratitude. Light and dark alternate as the sequence of steps in walking.

Two Rules

During the first week of this retreat I was given the basic rules of the game. Each rule was taught through the vehicle of a past-life memory.

Rule One: No matter how horrific a person's actions may be, there is always a pure intention at their root.

The past-life memory in which this teaching was conveyed was that of an American Indian man who murdered white women. He reasoned that women bear the children; therefore killing white women would stop the population growth that was fueling the invasion by white settlers of tribal lands and the destruction of the native people and their way of life. And so out of great love for his people, this man did horrific acts. At the time of his death he realized what he had done. This memory, together with the man's deep spiritual pain, unfolded until I saw clearly that the cause of his desperate actions was love that was guided by ignorance rather than wisdom. Then I was shown that this tragedy unfolded within Immaculacy.

Rule Two: Everything--every person, every being, every object every action, every event--is Buddha.

The past-life memory in which this teaching was conveyed was that of a man who was killed by several other men with swords. The setting seemed to be a yurt. I was shown that every aspect of this event--the assailants, their weapons, the terrible injuries, the pain, the dying--is Buddha. That which is horrific, ugly and anguished is as much of the Eternal as anything else. There is no "more" and "less" in Infinite Love, and nothing is outside It.

Together, these two Rules provided me with the essential Teaching needed for enduring, accepting, and learning during the retreat.--And for the rest of my life.


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